Narasimhavarman II

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Narasimhavarman II
Rajasimha, Rajamalla
Pallava King
Reign690–725 CE
PredecessorParamesvaravarman I
SuccessorParamesvaravarman II
IssueMahendravarman III, Paramesvaravarman II
FatherParamesvaravarman I
Pallava Kings (200s–800s)
Vishnugopa I(??–??)
Vishnugopa II(??–??)
Simhavarman III(??–??)
Mahendravarman I600–630
Narasimhavarman I630–668
Mahendravarman II668–670
Paramesvaravarman I670–695
Narasimhavarman II700-728
Paramesvaravarman II728–731
Nandivarman II731–795
Nandivarman III846-869

Narasimhavarman II, popularly known as Rajamalla, was a ruler of the Pallava kingdom.[1][2] Narasimhavarman reigned from 690 CE to 725 CE. He is credited with the construction of the Shore Temple, Isvara and Mukunda Temples in Mahabalipuram, the Panamalai Temple in South Arcot, plus the Kailasanathar Temple.[3] Narasimhavarman's reign was period of great literary and architectural advancements and he is often grouped by historians with Mahendravarman I and Narasimhavarman I as one of the greatest Pallava rulers.

Accession to the throne[edit]

By the time Narasimhavarman ascended the throne, the Pallavas were by the large most powerful military force in the subcontinent. His father Parameswaravarman I was among the greatest of warrior kings of ancient India, the Amaravati Pallava inscription praises him of being: "As vigorous and strong as lord sambhu (siva)".

Parameswaravarman I had subdued all his formidable enemies to extend the Pallava empire far and away. Narasimhavarman followed up very well.The Vayalur inscription of Pallavas issued on the eve of the coronation of Narasimhavarman II, gives a lineage of 54 rulers through the epochs of Kritam, Dwaparam and Kali up to emperor Narasimhavarman, this includes 47 kings after Aswattaman, the great warrior ancestor of the Pallavas.[citation needed]

The reign[edit]

Narasimhavarman, like of most of Pallava kings before him, was a great militarist. That the Pallavas were recognized as a major power during his period is testified by the fact that he exchanged ambassadors with China. In general his period was relatively free from major wars and Pallava domination of south east Asia continued.[citation needed]

General of South China[edit]

In the 8th century, the Tang dynasty, forged a military alliance with Narasimhavarman II and made him the General of the South China to safeguard from the expanding Tibetan Empire.[4]

Contribution to literature[edit]

Rock cut of Varaha and Vamana.
Rock cut depicting Durga fighting Mahishasura.

Narasimhavarman was a skilled dramatist and poet. He wrote many works in Sanskrit. Most of these are missing. His Sanskrit plays had themes from Ramayana, Mahabharatha and puranas. Kutiyattam, which is considered as the most ancient available form of dance drama and is still in vogue in Kerala, uses some of his plays (like kailasodharanam) for subject matter and so does chakyar koothu another ancient Tamil dramatized worship service. another play called "kamsavadham" dealing with lord krishna's killing of kamsa also was written by the king.

The Sanskrit litterateur Dandin spent several years in his court and was patronized by the king, but we do not know about his standing as the inscriptions denote considerable level of erudition . Narasimhavarman himself was a great devotee who was credited for having mastered the great agamic worship rituals" like preceptor drona".[5]

For all his accomplishments, Narasimhavarman is mainly remembered as a foremost devotee of lord Shiva and a relentless,truthful, diehard warrior king who made sure that pallava armies remained dominant in the subcontinent. Lord sivan is famously known to have appeared in the king's dream and ordered him to adjourn his coronation because he wanted to first bless an impoverished saint poosalar. This event is very well described in most pallava grants of Narasimhavarman as well as the ones after him.[citation needed]

Religious endowments[edit]

Narasimhavarman was a great devotee of Shiva and constructed the Kailasanathar Temple at Kanchipuram.[6] Narasimhavarman is generally identified with as Kalarsinga Nayanar ( meaning "one who is lion to crowd of evil kings"), one of the 63 Shaiva saints and also a contemporary to many Nayanmar saints like Sundarar, Dandi, Poosalar and his great queen Rangapataka, who was known to be a pious queen. Narasimhavarman is greatly admired for valor. He took many titles like "Ranajaya", and "Sivachudamani". Narasimhavarman also famously declared before Lord Shiva in Tiruvarur alongside Serruthunai, a Nayanmar saint that he considered himself not as a king but a sincere servant of Lord Shiva.[citation needed]

Patronage of architecture[edit]

The Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram built by Narasimhavarman II

Narasimhavarman's reign was marked by peace and prosperity, and he constructed several beautiful temples.[5] Apart from the Kailasanathar Temple at Kanchipuram, Narasimhavarman also built several other temples, including the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple at Kanchi, Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram.[7][8] He is also credited with building the Iravatanesvara Temple at Kanchipuram and the Talagirisvara Temple at Panamalai.[9]


Narasimhavarman's had two sons – Mahendravarman III and Paramesvaravarman II. However, Mahendravarman III predeceased his father, and Paramesvaravarman II succeeded to the throne.[citation needed]

Narasimhavarman II
Preceded by Pallava dynasty
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland. 1885.
  2. ^ Thorpe, Edgar Thorpe, Showick. The Pearson CSAT Manual 2011. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131758304.
  3. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 41–44. ISBN 978-93-80607-34-4.
  4. ^ "A 1,700-year-old Chinese connection | Chennai News - Times of India".
  5. ^ a b Tripathi, p450
  6. ^ C., Sivaramamurthi (2004). Mahabalipuram. New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India, Government of India. p. 6.
  7. ^ Ching, Francis D.K, A Global History of Architecture, p 274
  8. ^ Keay, John, India: A History, p 174
  9. ^ South Indian Inscriptions, Volume 12, ASI